FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – With voting already under way in Florida’s Aug. 23 election, officials in a county where about one in four voters are Hispanic are scrambling to fix a Spanish translation error that can’t help efforts to raise more money for education.
The Broward school district — the nation’s sixth largest serving 271,517 students — is asking voters to double the tax rate to help cover the costs of teacher raises and more school security staff and to bolster mental health programs. The proposal would increase a tax from one half a mill — which is about $50 per $100,000 in home value — to a full mill.
But the Spanish version of that question translated “one mill” into “one million” and said the funding would pay for an administrative person who oversees resources, not for school police officers. It also wrongly translated “essential instruction” into “essential expenditures.”
The issue came to light when a Spanish-speaking voter contacted the South Florida SunSentinel.
More than 64,000 citizens had already sent in their vote-by-mail ballots by Wednesday afternoon for the Aug. 23 election, the SunSentinel reported. Early voting at polling places begins Saturday in Florida.
The school district sent a new translation to the Broward Supervisor of Elections. This language will be posted at polling locations and early voting sites, and also appear in future Vote-by-Mail ballots, district spokeswoman Keyla Concepción told the newspaper.
“The Supervisor of Elections Office has also placed the information on its website. The District will share the notification through all its distribution channels to ensure the public is informed about the revision,” she said.
The “Secure the Next Generation Renewal” school district referendum comes as funding voters approved in 2018 for such initiatives is set to expire, the Miami Herald reported. If approved, this referendum would run from fiscal year 2023 to 2027.